I’ve had a rod rack installed on the inside of my Honda Element since I bought it about 7 years ago. It is great, but at times it can be a real pain, literally (ask the many who have hit their head on it). Recently, I’ve decided to construct an interior camping platform for long trips, or those days when it is just easier to crash in the vehicle for a night or two streamside (more to come on that build). This has necessitated the search for an alternative rod carrying system.
Until now, there has been relatively few options out there, you could build your own, but honestly, I want something a little sturdier than pvc pipe and an ammo can. I’ve also watched $4,000 worth of equipment dangle along the passenger side widow of my truck when an exterior suction cup rod mount let loose. Until recently, the only real viable option has been Denver Outfitters Rod Vault. I avoided ordering one of them years ago due to the extremely long (8 months or more) wait times that were being reported, as well as a lot of not so flattering reviews on the company’s customer service. Customer service is a big deal to me. To be fair, it appears they have recently dealt with their manufacturing issues and are next day shipping now, and I can’t give much of a firsthand account of their customer service minus a few email exchanges I recently had with them that we will call 50/50 at best.
During my search, a friend of mine turned me on to Riversmith and their newly released River Quiver. Riversmith is a small company based in Boulder Co, and they describe themselves as“a company built on the principles of engineering solutions for the avid fly fisherman”. They are climbers, hunters, skiers, but most importantly, fly-fishers. The first obstacle they decided to attack was rod storage. Their solution, the RiverQuiver, which recently took home the “Best of Show” award at this year’s IFTD trade show in Orlando.
The River Quiver is a 2 or 4 rod vault that mounts to your roof rack and looks similar to Denver’s rod vault, but there are some very notable exceptions. For starters, I like the tube design a lot better, as the tubes are actually joined together, which should make it more structurally sound and quieter, I have experienced zero wind noise. The tubes are lined to protect your rods and guides during transport and they will accommodate rods up to 10 feet in length. Despite the extra structure, the 4-banger is a full 13lbs lighter than the 4 rod version of the rod vault! If you are carrying more than just a rod rack on your roof, 13lbs is a big deal. Don’t let the light weight (42lbs) fool you though, it is built like a tank! This thing looks like it can take a real beating while keeping your rods safe and sound. The 4 rod version is also $100 cheaper than the 4 rod version of the rod vault, which is reason enough to give it a look. The 2-Banger retails for $349, while the 4-banger retails for $549.
|2-Banger (Photo courtesy of Riversmith)|
|4-Banger (Photo courtesy of Riversmith)|
Assembly and installation were a breeze, and I think it looks great, but you can judge that for yourself. The double barrel locking mechanism on the back is solid, and you can even get optional security bolts if you are really worried about someone coming along and trying to remove the entire setup from your roof rack. The River Quiver will fit almost all factory and aftermarket roof racks, and there is an optional spacer kit for those extremely low-profile roof racks. You should have no issues installing this on just about any vehicle, but if you have questions (this is where the customer service comes in), just email or call them, and they will be more than willing to help. When looking at the rod vault, I had a few questions regarding bracket spacing and I needed some simple measurements, I ended up having to resort to posting my questions on Facebook to get the info I needed. Ironically it was through that post that I learned about Riversmith, so I guess I should be grateful haha. The guys at Riversmith were extremely responsive and helpful when I reached out to them through email and over the phone. Within a week, there was a 4-Banger riding on the roof of the Element.
|Optional Security Bolts (Photo courtesy of Riversmith)|
|Optional Space Kit (Photo courtesy of Riversmith)|
- The River Quiver is Riversmith’s first product for the fly fishing industry, and you guys have hit it out of the park! I know you guys are just getting started, but any insights on what may be coming next from Riversmith?
We are always dreaming of ways to make fly fishing more enjoyable and productive, so yes – more is coming! Unfortunately, I’m sworn to secrecy, however there are things in the works to create more versatile and simple mounting options for the River Quiver and maybe some other rod holding/carrying solutions for alternate forms of transportation.
- Often when I purchase a product, after using it for about 5 minutes, I wonder sometimes if people ever actually field test stuff. Most of the time the issues I find with products are just mild annoyances that can be lived with, but probably could have been corrected if a little field testing had been done. Its obvious Riversmith has put in some serious time designing and testing the River Quiver. Can you offer any behind the scenes insight on what truly went in to designing and testing the River Quiver?
We started designing the River Quiver about a year before it was launched, and spent months prototyping, using, and abusing the products with our staff and guides/fishermen all over the country. We were also able to use a nearby aeronautics testing facility and capture data about extreme environmental stresses – extreme temperature swings, vibrations, wind loads, and other nerdy stuff like that. We broke a lot of different pieces and learned a lot in the testing stages. Just one example, we went through 4 different liner materials during this phase until we found one that met all of our criteria. I could tell you stories about every component, right down to the rivets, that went through multiple revisions to ensure we used the highest quality components.
- One of the many things I have been impressed with when dealing with Riversmith has been the customer service. It has been evident that you take great pride in your products and the service you provide. To me, this is what really sets your company apart from any others that may be producing similar products. Would you care to comment?
Thank you!! We have all had things break on us while fishing, and whether it’s a shoelace on a wading boot or fly rod on a trophy fish (or car door) it is a disappointing experience. All the staff at Riversmith really poured their hearts into this product and take great pride in what we have made, so the last thing we want is disappointed customers. To the best of our ability we make ourselves available for customer feedback, good or bad, and quickly resolve any issues people are having out there!
- Other than your website, is there a list of retailers where someone can pick up a River Quiver?
We are working on the “Find a Retailer” link on our website, so keep your eye on that. For now, just call your local shop and ask for the Riversmith River Quiver, and if they don’t have it ask them to become a dealer!
- The River Quiver is solid! However, if something were to go wrong, what is the warranty?
Riversmith’sLocked and Loaded Limited Lifetime Warranty covers all River Quiver products bought from an authorized retailer for the original purchaser for the life of the product. We will repair or replace all products rendered unusable by defects in materials or workmanship. If damage is deemed outside the scope of the warranty, replacement parts and repairs will be made available at discounted rates.
- Is there anything else you would care to add?
It’s been a dream come true being able to come back to the fly fishing industry after spending a number of years away. The warm welcome we have received from shops, manufacturers, and fellow fishermen has been nothing short of amazing. There have also been some pretty big names – some of my idols for many years – that have helped us with product testing, partnerships, and overall networking. We are humbled to be a part of this nationwide family of guys and gals who love being on the water.
I’ll give an updated review next spring, after I put this thing through the ringer a few times, but so far it has handled everything I have thrown at it. The River Quiver also has a Limited Lifetime Warranty vs the 1 year warranty on the rod vault. If you are in the market for a new rod rack, check them out online (Riversmith). If you have questions, email them or give them a call, they are more than willing to help. Last, but certainly not least, the River Quiver is designed and hand assembled in Colorado. If you are looking for rod storage, I think you will be happy with a River Quiver!